All Those Teddy Bears? It's a Pandemic Game

Families from the US to England to New Zealand are taking part
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2020 6:10 PM CDT
'We're Not Scared!' New Game Spreads Around the World
Two stuffed teddy bears in a window with an instructions sheet on good coronavirus hygiene practices, during an ongoing partial lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19, in Antwerp, Belgium, Tuesday, March 31, 2020.   (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Keep seeing teddy bears in windows on your street? It's no ursine invasion. It's part of a worldwide game created to cheer up children during the coronavirus pandemic, Time reports. Inspired by Michael Rosen's 1989 book We're Going on a Bear Hunt, residents of the US, England, and New Zealand (and maybe other countries) are putting bears in windows so children can spot them from outside. Parents say it gives families a fun distraction and a sense of community as they walk or drive around the neighborhood. "For about an hour we didn't think about anything else that was happening in the world," a Maine mom tells WMTW. "It was just about the bears. The kids sat in the back seat. My daughter kept a tally."

With people floating the idea on social media, the game has expanded to include other animals and, in some neighborhoods, teddy bear graffiti. A Tennessee woman says it has also inspired "chalk-a-walks" (inspired chalk messages and drawings on the sidewalk) and a visit from an area food truck ("so they stay in business," she explains). Meanwhile Rosen, the book's English author, has been hospitalized—but the BBC says it's not clear whether he has the coronavirus. His family says he has moved from intensive care to a ward and is "stable" and "alert." The Guardian notes that his book's motto, "We're not scared," seems especially apt now. The book starts, "We're going on a bear hunt/We’re going to catch a big one/What a beautiful day!/We're not scared." (More children stories.)

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